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Second Lawrence police officer in ticket-fixing investigation no longer employed with the city

March 22, 2012


The second Lawrence police officer who was suspended related to an internal traffic ticket-fixing investigation is no longer employed with the city, Police Chief Tarik Khatib said Thursday.

“As this still is a personnel matter, we will not identify the person or comment further,” Khatib said.

But City Manager David Corliss did confirm, when asked by the Journal-World, that Sgt. Michael Monroe was no longer employed by the city of Lawrence. Monroe left the city’s employment Wednesday. Corliss declined to comment on whether Monroe was the second Lawrence police officer suspended in connection with the ticket-fixing investigation. Corliss did not provide any details about Monroe’s departure from the city, where he had been employed in the Police Department since 1991.

“This is still a personnel matter that’s being handled through the city’s personnel procedures,” Monroe told the Journal-World when reached Thursday afternoon.

Monroe was promoted to sergeant in 2004, where he worked as a patrol supervisor until 2009. He later moved to the office of professional accountability. In 2011 he became a sergeant in the investigations division.

The second suspended officer had been an employee, but still on suspension, at the end of the day Wednesday. Corliss said on Thursday, to the best of his knowledge, the city no longer has any employees in the police department who are on suspension. The city has not publicly identified the two officers who were suspended earlier this year after the FBI investigated allegations that speeding tickets were dismissed in exchange for Kansas University basketball tickets.

The city did confirm Feb. 24 that Sgt. Matt Sarna had resigned his job with the department that day and that a personnel investigation regarding Sarna was complete. But city officials would not confirm Sarna was linked to the ticket investigation.

Last May, following an anonymous complaint, an internal investigation was launched, followed by a federal investigation, into allegations speeding tickets were dismissed.

The city has said the individual whose speeding tickets were dismissed was a former Kansas Athletics Inc. employee now serving time in federal prison for his role in the broader KU tickets-for-cash scandal.

City officials have said one police officer had a friendship dating to the late 1990s or early 2000s with the former athletics official who had access to basketball tickets. The officer received free, discounted or special access to athletic events over several years. The athletics official did ask for help with various speeding tickets.

The officer who resigned Feb. 24 asked the second officer — who was no longer employed by the city Thursday — two or three times for help in fixing a ticket. The officer who helped “may have been the beneficiary of KU tickets through the first employee,” according to a Feb. 24 statement Khatib provided about the investigation. The other speeding tickets were fixed by asking officers who issued or were about to issue a ticket to void it or not issue it, but those officers did not knowingly receive anything in return, Khatib said.

Corliss said Thursday that the city has not obtained any information since Feb. 24 that the scope and the number of officers involved in fixing speeding tickets had increased.

At the city’s request, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigated the case and decided against filing federal charges of bribery or other offenses, but Khatib said the conduct violated the city’s gratuity and solicitation policies. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson is reviewing the case as well.

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Paula Kissinger 6 years, 2 months ago

If it is Mike Monroe I am going to be shocked. There are several others I would have placed ahead of him in the suspect line...

doc1 6 years, 2 months ago

People have known it was Monroe and Sarna for months now. The JW just wouldn't post it.

schwa997 6 years, 2 months ago

Sgt. Mike Monroe has been with the department since at least 1995. HE WAS THE HEAD OF INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS, a/k/a DEPARTMENT OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT. Let's see how on earth he can ever get a job anything related to a job that would require strong moral character. Even though he didn't get a conviction and would not have to disclose his reason for termination, this will follow him like a bad STD. The same goes for Sgt. Matt Sarna. Two twenty (20) year veterans of the department, and in a supervisory capacity. WOW. Khatib inherited a disaster. Olin must have seen this coming and it is interesting how quickly Olin resigned his position with the KU Athletics Department. How about doing an article/interview with Ronald Olin, Phd.

kernal 6 years, 2 months ago

There could be another reason why Monroe resigned, such as fed up. Will wait for the facts.

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

I don't think there will be any more "facts" . I would bet the city considers this closed.

doc1 6 years, 2 months ago

No, there was no other reason. A very high percentage of people know it's been Monroe and Sarna since the story first broke on here. What we don't know is how much Monroe even knew. Sad thing is there is at least one detective and another officer who also received tickets from Sarna, however magically it never came to light.

kernal 6 years, 2 months ago

The facts I'm referring to are whether or not Monroe is the second police officer referred to in earlier news accounts of the KU ticket scandal.

BruceWayne 6 years, 2 months ago

Stay tuned....many truths about Core-less are coming.

Patricia Davis 6 years, 2 months ago

How do we know that Khatib was not involved given his past position in the traffic dept?

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

"office of professional accountability"???????? ..... hmmmmmm, I wonder who replaced him.

roadrunner 6 years, 2 months ago

It's a sad day in my book. Both Sarna and Monroe were good cops who followed the book, save this issue. Many will judge them harshly, and I understand that. But both of them are good men who loved their jobs and tried to do right by everyone they came in contact with. I find it hard to believe that their actions were blatant, outright bribery. I think anyone who gets a ticket and knows an officer well tries to "get out of it". Out of all the bad things a cop can do this hardly the worst, yet I realize inappropriate. Again.... Just a sad,sad day!

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

I would pay my ticket. I would not dream of asking an honest cop to fix a ticket. If you think everyone would try to bribe a cop to cheat out of a ticket, you are wrong, and running in a bad crowd.

John Hamm 6 years, 2 months ago

Oh yeah, right. They're "all good cops" until they get caught!

Scott Morgan 6 years, 2 months ago

were good cops who followed the book, save this issue.......... are you sure?

roadrunner 6 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, I'm sure. I actually KNOW both of the these guys very well. Many here are on the blog are so very high and mighty and oh yeah, PERFECT. I forgot that no one is allowed to make a mistake or have a lapse in judgement. It doesn't mean they are bad people or are or were bad cops, it just means they are human. And has anyone here heard their rendition of how all this transpired???? I believe the answer is no, we haven't. So you and "pace" can go back to your sanctuary of perfectness and sit on it. Unless, wissmo, you would like to enlighten the rest of us with some knowledge about either of these two guys.....

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

I don't think or know if these are bad guys, but to dismiss taking bribes is not what I want as a standard operating procedure. I would not bribe a cop to get out of a ticket, You are the one who claimed most people do that. I disagree. I don't think stating that you are wrong is sanctimonious. I wouldn't and most of my family and friends wouldn't and they don't want cops to be taking bribes.

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

The officers involved just pissed away many years in law enforcement. They will probably never be employed in such capacity again. I am not averse to simply putting it behind us and moving on. Of course, there are those who simply can't wait to tear off a pound of flesh.

Liberty275 6 years, 2 months ago

Big Prison, Incorporated, will still hire them.

Christine Anderson 6 years, 2 months ago

I feel very sad for the families of these officers, as well as those persons with KU atheletics dept. who have already been convicted. The loss of career. income, and respect hurts them deeply.

progressive_thinker 6 years, 2 months ago

misplacedcheesehead: You are right to remember the families. They did not do anything wrong, but they will still pay a heavy price for the wrongdoing of their loved ones. This is a sad but unavoidable byproduct of the criminal justice system.

KEITHMILES05 6 years, 2 months ago

Public officials who sell out for favors are not serving the public well. All this stupid sadness for these two who did just that is disgusting and shows a lack of moral character. Stop. It. Now.

Terry Snell II 6 years, 2 months ago

Is it really that bad, a few traffic tickets go away for Ku tickets. I side with L.P.D for the first time in 36 years. If we only knew what our politicians trade this case in comparison is like stealing a laffy taffy.

Bob Forer 6 years, 2 months ago

You are absolutely spot on. If folks were equally as indignant about our crooked politicians and were vigilant in throwing them all out--both democrats and republicans--then I'd tend to agree with their outrage.

"Laffy taffy." A great way to put it.

As I said previously, time to move on.

kernal 6 years, 2 months ago

Good example is the PACS and pork in D.C. Get rid of them and maybe Congress will get some real work done.

James Minor 6 years, 2 months ago

There should be some sadness. These two individuals were someone you could count on in a difficult time. Yes they broke the law, but there are alot of cops who have done worse and got away with it. The loss of employment and trying to find a job in this economy is not something anyone would want.

OutlawJHawk 6 years, 2 months ago

Sarna and Monroe are locals guys, Lawrence High guys. Both were decent, well-liked, and stand-up. Growing up here means you know everyone, good, bad, and ugly. Locals help each other, even the bad and ugly sometimes; and that includes giving and forgiving all kind of things including tickets, both KU and speeding. It is not about bribery or quid pro quo, but people showing loyalty to friendship, classmates, etc.

The problem lies when another local and friend asks you for a favor and then turns out to be a giant douche bag, especially when their high ranking position at KU would not lead you to believe they were actually heisting KU tickets. These two guys tried to "help" a "friend" out of a few tickets, only to find out later he was not a friend.

Favors have gone on forever and will always occur in every facet of life including law enforcement. I am local and have got out of a number of pinches/tickets because I grew up and went to LHS with many on the force. I own a local business and would give any officers AND others free or reduced cost services if I like them and we grew up together...and not because I got out of some pathetic ticket. Not quid pro quo or bribery, just friends/classmates helping friends/classmates. These guys deserved better; the real criminal is where he belongs.

XEPCT 6 years, 2 months ago

I understand when someone gets pulled over, but luckily their buddy from high school turns out to be the officer, and lets them off the hook. Then a couple months later, when he's got a couple tickets that he can't make use of, he calls up the same guy and gives him the tickets. That situation, I can understand. But, that's not what was happening here.

These guys made the wrong choice. Stop and think about how the FBI got wind of this. Seems to me that this (these) "friend(s)" they helped with the speeding tickets snitched on giving b-ball tickets to these two with the hope they would get a fewer two, three or four years in the pen. Some friends ...

Stevi Scrivo Wisdom 6 years, 1 month ago

Well put! I agree with your post in its entirerty. I grew up with many of the people in this town, I wasn't the best kid and got into trouble it was never big trouble but some just petty teenager stuff, wont mentions names dont want them to lost their job for being a helping hand, but they let me go as they wathced me grow up and knew my parents. I know a few officers in this town who are still officers of this town who would protect a KU student over a non student just for the reflection of the school, the entire city participates in this, but yet these officers are in trouble over a getting KU tickets, I know a TON of KU students that have been let out of DUI's because they are students, and people who have gotten them because they arent, the law has many negatives, they didnt let people off of murder for tickets, COME ON NOW!

Hoots 6 years, 2 months ago

I went to school with both Sarna and Monroe and they were always great guys. I can't say I was close but they were always the types to treat others with respect. I feel like they're probably taking the fall for taking orders from Olin who can't be fired due to being retired so someone has to pay.

This kind of thing has gone on for years and beyond. Cops I've known told me about this over 20 years ago and you can be sure it goes much further back. Boog and Nalbandian were on 6 and acted shocked. Oh, give me a freaking break. The city has washed KU's back in this way for a long time and it was well known. I had a cop tell me that Terry Allen was a jerk because he abused the crap out of this privilege. Everyone at the city acts shocked at something that was A( Known. B) An unwritten policy and 3) Condoned.

We lost two really good cops here.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree Hoots, after being here for a while I can certainly see the KU influence everywhere. In my opinion holding us back in the case of a good tech college.

patkindle 6 years, 2 months ago

this is lawrence both of these cops should be burnt at the stake with out a trial, no questions asked we have to protect the honor and good name of ku

kujayhawk 6 years, 2 months ago

A tough price to pay for a few tickets. I know both Matt and Mike and can say they are good people that made a bad error in judgement. I hope they both can learn from their mistake and put this behind them.

WOOHOO 6 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

WOOHOO 6 years, 2 months ago

You've obviously never had any personal or professional dealings with Sarna then. Word to the wise stay away. If you are too blind to see that when one of your very own officers "rats" you out. THERE IS AN ISSUE WITH YOU AND YOUR INTERGRITY!

Scott Morgan 6 years, 2 months ago

Don't know Monroe, but Matt was a fine fine man who made a mistake. A mistake I believe due to the KU environment.

When do you draw the line. Many moons ago I played football for a small college. More than once we were treated with kid gloves over stupid stuff we did. Can only imagine the pressure our cops have over what to do and what not to with a major program like KU.

Sarna and Monroe without a doubt were pressured.

Terry Jacobsen 6 years, 2 months ago

Wow, some of these posters are sure vindictive and harsh. I would just like to point out that based on some of their comments we are all criminals and we should all be justly punished. If you ever broke the law (jaywalked, drove one-mile over the speed limit, failed to come to a complete stop, dumped a bag of trash in a stores dumpster, passed another car inside city limits, or took a leak outside when no one was around) you lack moral character and your a piece of crap? Sorry. I'm going with, these were two decent guys who made a mistake that cost them dearly. I hope they can rebuild their lives. They have paid the price for their mistakes, we shouldn't be allowed to continue to punish them over and over.

nativeson 6 years, 2 months ago

The unfortunate part of being in public service is that it is public. The consequences of exposure for a violation of the ethics code for the police department is always going to be harsh. We place a significant amount of autonomy and power in each and ever sworn officer, and the taxpayers pay a lot to train and maintain public safety personnel.

The revelation that the rules can be bought is a problem no matter how small the infraction or how hard-working the offenders have been in their service. The officers knew this was wrong, and they chose to cross the line. They were also fully aware of the consequences of their actions if caught. I have a great deal of compassion for the individuals, because it will have a dramatic impact on their lives. But, it simply had to happen.

CORRUPTIONATLPD 6 years, 2 months ago

i dont know why anyone would be shocked. i think with olin stepping down from ku after leaving the lpd.........ummmmm......that should tell you something............ khatib should step down too........ a bunch of corrupt cops if branson doesn't file charges, then you know how far this corruption goes

57chevy 6 years, 2 months ago

The most amazing part of this story is the level of transparency of our city government. We have been defeinitively told that two police have been fired for taking hundreds of dollars worth of bribes, yet we don't REALLY even know their names. There is no external investigation and at least one of the two suspected criminals (cops accepting bribes are criminals in my opinion) actually worked in internal affairs. I'm pretty sure that makes it hard to believe an internal investigation with no exposure of the facts is suspect, if not laughable. As long as we allow the government to keep secrets from the public, we will have corruption. As this case so clearly demonstrates, corruption is like a fungus, it feeds in the dark and sunlight kills it. How about a new, non-local city manger (preferably not the ex-topekan in Sanford, Fla who will soon be looking for another job)?

flux 6 years, 2 months ago

Both officers are Lawrence High graduates

booyalab 6 years, 2 months ago

Somehow I don't think a lot of these comments would be so generous if this happened in the private sector.

JackMcKee 6 years, 2 months ago

A major problem with Lawrence is the locals that grew up here and never moved on. They think they have some kind of seniority in the town, like the laws just don't apply to them because mommy and daddy knew a judge 20 years ago. The fact that these two were police and took bribes to fix tickets makes me sick. They aren't "nice guys". I don't care if you played hide and seek with them when you were 6. I don't care if you hung out after high school. These two are scum. I also have a problem with the way the matter has been handled by the police department. This is a matter of public interest. Treating it as an internal matter is disgraceful.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

I take back all the bad things I've said about you.

OutlawJHawk 6 years, 2 months ago

I do agree with the last three sentences of your post. You are just wrong about these two guys. They errored. They are not scum and their lives cannot be defined by a poor association with a real scum bag.

It would seem you might have been escorted to the edge of the town you grew up in and were sqarely booted out. That must have sucked. I am also sorry you are not invited back to your HS class reunions, assuming you graduated. It is sad your parents locked you in a closet as a child so you did not have friends to play with. Your bitterness about all of this is obvious.

It takes alot to stay in the town you grew up in and become somebody, because everyone knows everything about you. They ARE nice guys and have done little wrong through the years. They made A mistake and they both have now paid dearly. Let it go.

Also, you might want to try and forgive your parents someday for the childhood you missed, of course you may have to do it during visiting hours at a prison.

Patricia Davis 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree with you.To try to make this into nice guys sucked into the evil of KU athletics totally obscures the point. These two officers repeatedly did wrong. What is so what about that?

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

LMAO! First the police chief says "it's been going on for a couple of years" and we find it was going on for over 9-years...then the city declares no laws broken, it's an infraction of the city's gratuity policy! Hello?!? Keep peeling back these layers of systemic corruption! There's more funk to be had from this. Let the prosecutions begin! LMAO!

pace 6 years, 2 months ago

the city did not say no laws were broken. The said the FBI would not be pursuing charges. No one flatly said "No laws were broken" .

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

You're correct, Sir. It was implied that no law was broken. No one was arrested and the city declared it was a policy infraction. Please switch "declared" for "implied" in my previous comment. Fact is, city officials believe no laws were broken by their statements and actions. A gratuity policy infraction? Right! Straight up bribery is what it is. This ain't rocket science.

JackMcKee 6 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for spamming the board, smitty.

JackMcKee 6 years, 2 months ago

I read "smitty" on a comment and skip it. I'm not the only one.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

Cognitive dissonance is one hard mutha to deal with.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 2 months ago

Try some "adaptive preference formation" to help ease the pain. Cognitive dissonance is a very powerful motivator which will often lead us to change one or other of the conflicting belief or action. The discomfort often feels like a tension between the two opposing thoughts. To release the tension we can take one of three actions: change our behavior; justify our behavior by changing the conflicting cognition; justify our behavior by adding new cognitions.

JackMcKee 6 years, 2 months ago

Here's all you need to know. If Smitty had a legitimate gripe, she would hire an attorney and sue instead of posting on a newspaper message board.

Quantrillsghost 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes it is "too bad" these 2 cops have resigned because of this. Bottom line is did they break the law or break any departmental policies? Are there current officers who did what they did or knew about it? It sheds a sorry light on the rest of the officers and department. This fairly new police chief better start reassuring the city that the rest of his officers are clean. Will be interesting to see if the LJW and Channel 6 will stay on this like they do the SLT.

BlackVelvet 6 years, 1 month ago

Golly there ANYONE besides you and the Neighbors' who are NOT corrupt? Is there??

psheaf2 6 years, 1 month ago

There are certainly alot of assumptions here. Are we sure Mike Monroe resigned? Are we certain he did anything wrong at all? Why would an innocent man telling the truth resign? Easy answer!!! When you've done nothing wrong u don't accept a demotion or do u resign! Id say, stay tuned, more to come in this matter.

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